Festive shopping - a consumer or counterfeit utopia?
With 30% of annual retails sales taking place over the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) events, it is no wonder that the meaning behind Black Friday is often associated with the day that retail companies make a profit. While companies enjoy taking advantage of this time, unfortunately so do the counterfeiters, who, sadly exploit shopper’s vulnerability during what should be a fun time.
Early figures from Adobe Digital Insights, indicate that the combined American BFCM sales hit a massive $14.5 billion, making Cyber Monday the largest online sales day in history. Whilst in the UK, according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), just Black Friday spend alone was up 11.7% from last year to a total of £1.39 billion ($1.87bn).
With figures like these it is easy to understand how fraudsters are duping around a quarter of online consumers. Action Fraud, which is run by the City of London Police, estimated that nearly £16 million ($21.5bn) was lost to fraud in the 2016 Christmas shopping spend. This was a 25% increase compared to the same period in 2015, so it’s really scary to think what the total amount will be this year, when the OECD report that global trade in counterfeit goods is worth nearly half a trillion US dollars a year.
Yet, it is not only a company’s profits that are hit; a brand’s reputation can be tarnished when a consumer believes that they are getting the real deal. Additionally, consumers’ health and safety is put at risk when dangerous parts, materials and the construction are used with counterfeited goods.
With this in mind, it’s encouraging to see that IP protection government agencies and organisations are stepping up their efforts in tackling online counterfeiting crimes, with recent initiatives coming from both the United States and European Union.
However, you can’t of course just rely on the authorities to enforce measures, it still requires you to take action, especially as the number of sales, and consequently the number of infringements, through December and January are unlikely to quieten down. Step up your online brand protection over Christmas by registering on ALL online marketplace’s anti-counterfeiting programs, even if you aren’t selling on the site, and through extensive monitoring and tracking on social media networks and apps.